Awi Manga - Language Programme Leader

My name is Awi Manga. I was born in April 16, 1961. My wife’s name is Kamu. We were married in 1990 and we have seven children.  Our first two boys are twins – Tumuwau and Manga (April 17, 1992); Nainai (girl, April 17, 1998); Kauwa (girl, April 10 2001); George (boy, September 19, 2003); Josaiah (boy, April 4, 2007); and Elizer (boy, January 2, 2009). Four of our children are attending primary and vernacular prep schools. Tumuwa is doing grade 5 and Manga is in grade 4. The other two are doing elementary prep. We are all Christians.

I attended Grace Memorial Secondary School (former Wau High School) and in 1982 I reached grade 9, but because of financial difficulties I did not complete my studies. I went back to the village and started to train with Balai and Doris Bjornan (SIL) as a literacy teacher. After I trained in the STEP course I became a Supervisor. I supervised 8 schools (5 in Kunimaipa and 3 in Amam).

I became a Christian in January 14, 1991 when Balai (Kunimaipa translator) shared God’s Word with me. I attended the Moriah Baptist Church and when the Pastor went to live in Australia I started serving God in the church as Caretaker (Lay Pastor). I am still serving God in that position.

I come from a very remote area with no roads and airstrips. It takes a whole day walk to take a plane at the nearest airstrip. Because of this we do not have community schools; we only have prep schools in the vernacular. After that we send our kids to far away villages or town for school. They stay with relatives, but if there are no relatives to stay with, they don’t go to school.

We have coffee and other cash crops but because of no transport we cannot sell these to get money to support our children in school or buy our daily needs.

I have been working as a Supervisor for the literacy program in the Kunimaipa language for almost 14 years, among 12,000 people.

 We have one neighbouring language called Amam and some Kunimaipa speakers can speak Anau dialect of Amam language. In this language they have 1,500 plus people. We trained many of their teachers and they have prep schools operating for a couple years now. During my supervision I found out that they need a Bible to be translated into their own language, so I started doing the awareness and discovered that many people did want to have the Bible in their own mother tongue. They appointed three of us to attend TTC in Ukarumpa.

Many young people are using English and Tok Pisin Bible and they don’t explain the meaning properly to the old and uneducated people and many are dying without knowing Christ. So I wanted to help those people by translating the Bible into their language.